Tag Archives: memories

The Day

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*Today is the third anniversary of my husband’s death.

It started off normal enough, however, I did not foresee the tragedy that was heading my way… 

I decided to turn in early because I had planned to surprise my husband by going to look for a new car with him the following morning.  He was barely speaking to me because I disagreed that he needed one.

I was asleep by the time he got off of work, but he made sure to come to our bedroom and ask if Jazmine was awake. He was especially fond of my niece and spent most of his hours at home with her undertow. I replied she was not and dozed back off.

Less than an hour later, he came back in the bedroom and turned on the light. In obvious distress, he told me he did not feel well.  Still drowsy, I halfheartedly asked what was wrong.  He responded that he was having chest pains.  About a year earlier, he asked me to stop making spicy foods because his “heartburn” was getting worse. Therefore I attributed his discomfort to that and asked him if he tried taking an antacid.  He said he had but he would try taking some more.  When I heard him fumbling around in the medicine cabinet, I grew alarmed.

He came back into the bedroom and I noticed he was sweating profusely and breathing heavily.  I asked him if he was having pain in his left arm as well.  He said he was and I thought came to me that he might be having a heart attack. However, it still didn’t register as being a real possibility considering he was only 30 years old. 

I decided to call for an ambulance and while I was on the phone with the operator, he was stretching.  She instructed me to have him to sit down but he said he could not because he was so uncomfortable.  I got off the phone and proceeded to help him to the livingroom to wait for the paramedics to arrive.

Midway there he stumbled and I caught him as best I could.  We finally made it to the sofa and not a second later, he jumped up abruptly and started stumbling about.  He was headed toward the door because he could not breathe and wanted to go outside for air.  He collapsed in the doorway as the ambulance pulled up front.

Ethan heard the noise as well as my panicked voice and came into the livingroom.  I told him to go lay back down because I did not want him to see his father in such a condition. He did.

The paramedics were able to get him conscious by sticking something down his throat that made him vomit.  This was followed by a series of questions that he was able to answer although his speech was slurred and weak. 

During this time they tried to keep me out of the livingroom, but I refused. I was informed by the head paramedic that my husband was “very, very, very, very, very, very, very sick” and that something was definitely going on in the heart region and they needed to take him in right away.  In Indiana, those who are not be transported are not allowed to ride in the ambulance, so I told the paramedic that I would be right behind them. 

His last words to me were “make sure you come” as he squeezed my hand.  I replied “of course!”

Nic was spending the night with a friend and Evan was still in residential treatment. I am ashamed to say that I left Jazmin and Ethan alone at home as I quickly threw something on over my pajamas and sped to the hospital.

I was not allowed in the room, but I walked past several times and say a hoard of medical professionals working on him. I sat in the waiting room for a few hours placing calls to friends and family. Two nurses came and introduced themselves and checked on me periodically.

After a while, the doctor, flanked by a nurse came out to talk to me.  He introduced himself and asked me what happened. I started giving him a recap and as I was talking, there was something about the way that he was listening so intently that made me stop and ask him “Is my husband still alive?” When he replied no, I immediately started screaming and fell to the floor. I never expected to hear that. My mother had died exactly nine months prior for goodness sakes!

The two angels disguised as nurses came to my side praying and holding me. Shortly people started to arrive, his two close childhood friends, a cousin, my bil and his wife, my aunts (all three with spouses), my sister, and cousins. My mil and other sil were in Detroit but I had already called them with the news.

We tried to get a hold of his sister that lived in town to no avail( I was later blamed by her that she did not get to make it to his bedside).  I even held his body for hours in hopes that she would make it to the hospital. I finally got back home around 6am and passed out from sheer exhaustion, disbelief, and distress.

And it was only the beginning of a tumultuous journey and I would need all my energy and sense of equilibrium to help me get through the terror of it all…

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God Sees The Truth, But Waits

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This weekend I was feeling a little down so Saturday I decided to visit the mall and treat myself.  I saw a couple of former students and chatted with them, but for the most part, I was alone with my thoughts for the next few hours.

I concluded with a bite at the food court.  As I was walking toward the exit, you all would never believe who was coming straight toward me! Ethan! Ethan who is now 15 and in the 10th grade! It was a surreal moment though I don’t know why. 

A couple of days prior my aunt’s husband told me that he saw the kids at the license branch with my former SIL.  From that I concluded that she finally received custody and the fact that she made it a point to tell him that they now lived with HER .  He also said that Evan kept asking to come over to their house.  My aunt called me later and told me she believed that was his way of getting to see me since he would not be allowed to do so outright. 

Also, Eliza had written me over the summer seeking my help in contacting their aunt regarding guardianship (because her sister no longer wanted the responsibility).  And as small as our “big” city is, I knew I would be bound to run into them sooner or later if this did happen.

I gave Ethan a hug and a kiss and inquired about Evan.  It was an awkward moment. We both  wanted to say more but not in front an audience and only talked for a few minutes because his uncle (my SIL’s husband) looked uncomfortable.  Though he has tried to stay neutral in the situation; I suppose he still has to defer to his wife.  I could see he knew that she would not be happy about our reunion.  But Ethan seemed pleased to see me.  I just wish Evan would have been with him. 

Last night I dreamed about the kids. Today I am still processing seeing him again after almost two years.  Next Monday marks the second anniversary of his father’s death. I am still being haunted by the ugliness of it all.

I feel like my enemies have won again. My SIL has the boys and has been arguing via FB with Eliza’s sister (she is the one who took them from me) regarding their social security checks!  Sadly they both only want the boys for the money they come with.

I mentioned that Eliza wrote early in the summer.  Here are the 3 of the 4 letters she sent after initially asking for my help in locating my husband’s sister:

7/9/10

Hi Morocco,

How are you? Have you heard anything from Shawn or her mom? I’m still waiting to hear something from them. I appreciate your immediate response- thank you. I have filed paperwork so I pray I receive a response from one of them soon.  Be Blessed

Always

El

10/5/10

Goodmorning M,

I pray all is well with you. I’m doing well by the grace of God. Morocco I really need your help. I need for you to mail me copies of anything you have regarding Evan’s condition. I need it as soon as you can get it to me. I’ll be home in a few months and I’ve been trying to get things ready ahead of time with family counseling. I would greatly appreciate this. I know you stayed on top of things and I will forever be grateful for the care you provided our boys. They ask me if I talk to you. Maybe if you are up to it we can get together when I get home after I get things together. Well I’ll let you go, have a blessed day. 

Sincerely

El

 10/13/10

Goodmorning Morocco,

Thank you so much I really appreciate it. I will contact you soon so that we can set something up. I talk to the boys but I don’t get to see them regularly. I know they are going to be excited to see you. I think it would be good for them. God has a way of working things out doesn’t He:)? I’ll close for now but I’ll be in touch.

Be Blessed M

Always

El

 Of course after meeting all of her requests, including contacting his sister and sending her over 250 pieces of paperwork detailing Evan’s condition, I have not heard from her.  I suppose I should have expected this from the same person who orchestrated her children’s removal from my home, sent no type of condolences after my husband’s death, and who slandered me in prison and ended up getting into a fight with Jazmine’s mom over her comments.

She also never mentioned that she had a modification hearing on October 19th in an attempt to get an early release.  I only found out because I received an email from the victim notification system.  I believe she wanted to use the paperwork to bolster the chances of having her sentence reduced.

I’ve done all I can do for her, so I foresee no reason for Eliza to contact me ever again.  She probably never intended to allow me to see her boys.  That was just the dangling carrot to manipulate me into doing what she asked.  Unfortunately that shows that she still does not get it.  I did those things for her because that’s just the kind of person that I am. 

And I do believe she is right about one thing, God does have a way of working things out. He already knew of her ill intentions and arranged for me to run into Ethan.  I do believe I’ll being seeing Evan next!

The Pancakes

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In honor of my mother’s 48th birthday today, I thought I’d share a story about her.  When I was about 6 years-old and my brother was 4, my mother cooked us a batch of pancakes for breakfast.  Mind you, she was a young  mother and was not very experienced in the kitchen.  To top that off, she was not in a good mood that day so I knew there was no way she would allow us to eat something else.

When she placed the plates in front of us; I immediatedly noticed how weird they looked.  I glanced at my brother and he looked fearfully at the flat, lifeless circular blobs.  I, too was appalled that she expected us to eat those things!

My mother noticed our reluctance and warned us that we better eat every single piece of our pancakes.   For a few minutes she stood guard over us to make sure we’d do just that.  I courageously took a bite hoping for the best.  It was the worst of times.   Even at my young age I  realized she put too much baking soda  in the mix!  Satisfied with my mouthful, she left us to own devices.

My brother sat there with tears in his eyes while I was busy thinking.  We lived in a high rise and was many floors up.  It finally dawned on me that we could throw them out the window if I was clever enough.  I cut my pancakes in fours and did my brother’s next. 

Glancing around furtively for her probing eyes, I made my way to the window.  The coast was clear so I rapidly dumped some of our pancakes out the window.

I told my brother to shuffle the remaining pancakes on his plate to make it appear as if he was eating.  My mother checked on us again and saw the diminishing stacks and smiled.

When she walked away I excused myself from the table with a napkin of carefully concealed pancakes.  My plan was to flush them down the toilet.

Once back at the table I dropped the rest of her culinary science project out the window.  We were saved!

Deja Vu

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Tuesday morning, right in front of my classroom, a student went into cardiac arrest.  My room is in a pretty isolated part of the building.  Luckily I was in the hall when he fell.  I ran to get the nurse.  The nurse and school police officer performed CPR on him until the paramedics arrived.  I am trained in CPR and was next in line if either of them tired.

It was a very intense, scary scene for well over 30 minutes.  He had to be shocked twice as well as receive other life-saving procedures.  It was deja vu in a sense.  I could not stop crying as I watched the paramedics work so hard to save his 19-year-old life.  The school police officer was also equally shook up having lost his own 17-year-old son a few months prior.

He was finally rescuitated and transported to the hospital.  Wednesday he had open heart surgery to repair faulty valves.  If necessary, they may install a pacemaker.

I wondered why I had to bear witness to this trauma.  It brought back so many painful memories.  This was also the day I ran into my SIL’s husband.  And of course, before I went to sleep that night, I saw a commerical on television and the man’s name was the same as my husband’s.

Yesterday on the way home for school Nicholas was telling me that their principal asked them to pray for one of the 8th grader’s brother who had a heart attack at school.  I didn’t go into details but I told him that I was aware of what happened because it happened right in front of me.  He seemed very surprised–and actually I was, too. What a small world we live in.

Neither one of us mentioned my husband, but I’m sure he was thinking about him as I was.

But it also made me appreciate first responders even more.  They are so efficient, composed, and determined to save lives.  I saw this firsthand with my husband as well as with the young man.  I really have a lot of respect and admiration for what they do.  They are as important, if not more so, than doctors.

Our principal announced that this story will be covered by the news.  However, I don’t want to be in the limelight and will make sure I am unavailable when they do come. 

Some say that there is a message in everything, but I have no idea of what it could be in this case.

A Diet Dr. Pepper and a Smile

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Monday afternoon I received some very sad news.  My mom and stepdad’s dear friend, Terry, died.  I immediatedly started crying as I listened to his SIL’s voicemail.  I called to tell George and he was clearly devastated.  Terry was his “buddy.”

Terry and my mother attended the same dialysis clinic for years.  My mother loved him, and he likewise.  Everytime we talked she would tell me the lastest stories about him.  Terry was also the stepfather to a boy I had a major crush on in high school, so that scored more points for him!

When my mother died Terry was at the service sharing his memories of her.  That meant a lot to me.  He reached out to us in our time of need.  A few months ago, we all went out to dinner and had a great time.  He was such a charming, eccentric person, and the perfect gentleman.

After I calmed down a few hours later, I called his SIL to get information about the arrangements.  I thought I was okay but I starting crying again.  She replied Now you know Terry wanted everyone happy.  He didn’t want anyone crying.  He left specific instructions  to be cremented.  Half of his ashes will go in a Diet Dr. Pepper bottle (his favorite beverage) and spread over one of the Canadian mountain ranges.  The rest will go to his family.  He didn’t want a funeral, but he wanted a party to celebrate his life.    LOL, I should have known!  Everytime I see a Diet Dr. Pepper, I’ll think of him! 

I was telling my friend Kara about his request when she mused that since we both loved tea, maybe we should get cremated and have our ashes placed in teabags!

Of course, George and I  will be there on Saturday to help celebrate his life over Diet Dr. Peppers and lots of smiles.

TGIF–Not!

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Fridays have taken on a whole new meaning for me. It used to be that I could hardly “wait”  for the day to come.  Now I can barely get through them.  No longer do they represent happiness and relief from working. Fridays are sadness, loneliness, and  terrible memories that surface.  Every Friday I relive that horrible night.  Friday is the day all the trouble began.

Saturdays, too, are classified the same as Friday.  Saturday was the official day of his death.

And for some reason yesterday (Friday) just felt so much more heavier than usual on top of the  forlornness that I normally feel.  There were “signs” everywhere that I could not “read.”

  • During my prep I made a personal call, and while on hold, I grabbed the nearest magazine (Lady’s Home Journal) to pass the time.  The first article I encountered was called “To Happy Endings.”  The author wrote about the many problems she had faced in 2008.  No matter how many times life surprises you, you never get used to the shock. A year ago I couldn’t have pictured all that has come to pass in my world in 2008: my mother’s death, the end of my second marriage and a raft of other heartaches big and small… Midway through the article it mentioned that she had been widowed in her early thirties!  I about fell off of the stool I was perched on!
  • After reading her story, the article I turned to next had my husband’s name in large letters!  Turns out that one of the adult dogs who played Marley in the movie Marley & Me has the same name as my husband!
  • The last feature I read in the magazine was an interview with a mom.  The final question asked what she wished her family had money for.  She said she wanted money to restore their emergency fund as it had been depleted.  She also desired money so that her family could visit her in-laws in (take a wild guess) Morocco!
  • During my sixth period some of the students were talking while working on their assignment.  A female student was casually sharing the fact that she spent 11 1/2 months in residental treatment.  This of course caught my attention because this is the exact amount of time that Evan spent in treatement as well!
  • One of my student’s brother, who attends our middle school has been acting out because their father died recently.  Her brother’s name is Ethan (also in middle school)!
  • I received a call from Eliza’s sister’s cell phone.  I did not answer the call and no message was left.
  • On Wednesday I kept my friend’s two sons while she went out on a date.  They are the same ages as my stepsons.  It felt really eerie having them there.  Later in the evening she sent a text asking What are my boys doing?  This is the way Eliza always referred to Ethan and Evan,  Although this did not happen on Friday, it still triggered many memories.

I was haunted all day and night long.  Even while I was “stealing time.”  I felt overwhelmed and crushed by the memories and what-if’s.  Later in the day I was exhausted and took a sleeping pill to stop my wandering mind.  But I do wonder if it was all a coincidence or some kind of sign?